New PDF release: California in a Time of Excellence: School Reform at the

By James Andrew LaSpina

Follows California's efforts at reforming the general public university procedure from 1983 to the current.

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Extra info for California in a Time of Excellence: School Reform at the Crossroads of the American Dream

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The study of history in the schools was a central plank in his campaign platform. For two years he stumped the state telling anyone who would listen that lasting reform of California’s public schools could be done only by a return to “traditional 36 California in a Time of Excellence education” (Honig 1985, 41). That meant a core academic curriculum, with more attention given to the humanities and the sciences. The cafeteria-style general education curriculum prevalent since the 1960s had in his view watered down academic subjects.

Yamane 2002, 49) The Nation Idea at Risk 19 Even though ACR 71 was the first major legislative initiative to make a course in Ethnic Studies a graduation requirement at UC Berkeley, it was but one small step in a student-led campaign to gain a voice in educational policymaking that evolved out of the Free Speech Movement (FSM). ACR 71 had it origins in the struggle to recognize ethnic studies at Berkeley. That struggle entered its critical phase in 1968, during Reagan’s first term as governor.

The voter-backed initiative “guaranteed that no student could be forced to attend a particular school for reasons of his or her race, creed, or color” (Allswang 2000, 123). But in 1973 the governor backed the Riles-sponsored Early Childhood Education Act, which established elementary school special education programs matching state funds with Title I grants (CDE 1973). For the duration of the decade Riles held to the political center even as it drifted right. “Under Reagan’s regime,” he said, “we did not go backward, we went forward” (Wills 2000, 365).

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